Thursday, July 08, 2010

Jellied Cranberry Sauce (Page 903)

RECIPE #1178

  • Date: Sunday, July 4, 2010 -- 7pm
  • Location: East Lansing, MI
  • Kitchen: Our New House!
  • Dining Companion: Matty
  • Recipe Rating: B

I picked this recipe because the Relishes, Chutneys, Pickles, and Preserves section of The Book is one of the sections on which I am making slow progress. My special gentleman claimed adamantly that he had never eaten, or even seen, cranberry sauce before (a claim which I find nearly impossible to believe, especially because my aunt serves the kind in a can every year on Christmas Eve, and my special gentleman is there). But he stood by his claim and throughout the four days or so that this was in the fridge he kept asking, "Sauce for what?" He was unsatisfied with my answer that it could be eaten as a side dish on its own and instead ate it as a "sauce" on pork, Kraft mac and cheese, and even on pie (yes, plum pie topped with cranberry jello).

To make this sauce I combined cranberries, sugar, and water in a saucepan and cooked it. Then I strained out the solids, mixed some gelatin into the liquid and poured it into a mold. The recipe said to let it set for 2 hours in the fridge but in reality it took much longer. I then inverted it onto a plate and served. The resulting cranberry sauce was OK. It had a nice cranberry flavor but it was very gelatinous. The texture reminded me of the Jello Jigglers my mom used to make for me when I was a kid. I love jello, so that was fine with me, but it definitely wasn't a typical cranberry sauce texture. My other complaint about this recipe was that it was a little dull. If you are going to go through the work of making your own cranberry sauce it seems like it should be interesting in some way. Perhaps a kick of citrus or booze would have made this dish more interesting. All that said, over the course of a few days we finished off the whole dish, and I grew quite fond of my serving of cranberry jello with every meal.

The recipe is here.

I enjoy teaching and I try to do a good job. When teaching graduate courses, or upper level undergraduates, the students tend to be pretty focused. They are interested in learning the material or they wouldn't be there. With lower level undergraduate courses, however, that isn't always the case. For instance, the business calculus course that I have taught many times in the last few years was a requirement for many students. I would guess that at least 80 percent of my students wouldn't have taken the course if they hadn't been forced to. In that situation I try to bring even more enthusiasm to my teaching. I try to motivate everything thoroughly, and communicate my passion for math. I do what I can, and then I just hope that by the end of the semester they have developed an appreciation for the course and walked away with some mathematical foundations.

I think, though, that sometimes there are students who miss the point. An illustration: I recently got my teaching evaluations back from the fall semester, when I had over 300 business calculus students. Overall the evaluations were positive with some constructive comments -- I was happy with them. But in the mix was also probably the most ridiculous student response I have ever gotten.

Question: What did you like most about the course and/or the instructor?

Student response: I thought she was pretty cute with a nice little figure.

In fact, the student wrote six or seven sentences, mostly in that vein, including charmers like, "Last week she wore her hair down and was looking right."

Somehow I think that student missed the point of the question (and possibly the course)!

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